Sunday, April 24, 2016
So...it's just about rabbits, right?
Book 7/50 Watership Down by Richard Adams
(Re: 7/50 isn't it weird that you can feel so many ways about a single number? Like, yay, I'm reading significantly more than last year! Boo, I'm not reading nearly as much as I thought I was going to. Who cares about numbers--they are just a silly measure of reading! I care! It's a whirlwind over here)
Anyway, Watership had been on my "Why have so many people I know read this?" list for a long time so I thought I would finally tackle it. I guess some high schools read it and I have to say, I really don't understand why.
The book is entirely too long. I love a beautiful description of the English countryside as much as the next guy, and I was genuinely interested in the politics and culture of rabbits (a feat I realize!). But was this guy being paid by the word? This would have made fantastic novella--tight 120 pages and that thing would be pure gold. Instead it drags for nearly 450 pages.
If you're not familiar, it's the story of a clan of male rabbits who strike out on their own after one of them who has the "sight" predicts a dire tragedy in their warren. They adventure, they face danger and challenge, all good stuff but SO MUCH description of landscape and I'm just like yes, the grass was a golden haze in the sunlight but oh my god are we ever leaving this riverbank or what?
I cannot understand why you would need to read this in high school. Maybe to read a selection that would show you how to write a beautiful setting? If the point is an animal parable that mirrors human government or military, you are way better off reading Animal Farm.
If you are a particular fan of parables or of beautiful English countrysides, this might be in your wheelhouse but while I'm glad I now understand the cultural reference, I can't exactly recommend it.